The town hall was originally the hall and storehouse of the weavers guild. In the Middle Ages they were among the richest people in the town, since cloth-making was the most important industry in Flanders at that time. The building also housed the arsenal and the town weigh-house and it was here that all goods that were traded were weighed. The town council held their meetings on the first floor. In September 1914 the belfry was hit by shellfire. The spire and the carillon collapsed and the town hall burned out. The old town hall was completely restored after the war. In 1999 the belfry was awarded world heritage site status.
The superb Town Hall dates from the fourteenth century. Originally it was the Cloth Hall; later it did duty as the Sheriffs Court, and served other functions too. The town charters and privileges were kept in a fire-proof room in the belfry, which was built in 1377 and 1378. The carillon in the belfry plays charming melodies at regular intervals.
The Town Hall is a gem of medieval Flemish architecture. In the summer months it looks particularly magnificent, flying eleven heraldic flags and decorated with colourful flower displays. Paintings by the famous Dendermonde School adorn the walls on the first floor.
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In 1337 the Lord of Dendermonde granted the weavers permission to build a new cloth hall in the Grote Markt. The town authorities swiftly moved in to this prestigious stone building and cloth hall evolved into town hall. As the most prominent building in the Grote Markt it plays a key role in the story of Dendermonde.
Originally the Guild of Weavers met on the first floor. Now the town hall has a chiefly ceremonial function for weddings, receptions and meetings. The rooms house an exceptional art collection, with a great many masterpieces by artists of the Dendermonde School.
In 1377 the town council had a belfry built in part of the cloth hall as a symbol of the towns power and freedom. It was used, among other things, for the safekeeping of the towns charters and privileges. In the belfry, which has been a recognized world heritage site since 1999, there is a second monument: the carillon with forty-nine bronze bells that ring out over the town centre.